Identity cards are to replace labour cards for expats in the United Arab Emirates as well as health cards and driving licences in the future, according to officials.
It has announced that expats will no longer need to hold labour cards in order to work in the UAE more than three months after their arrival.
The new Emirates ID cards will be brought in by the end of June. Different emirates have different registration dates and expats are advised to check locally when they can apply.
Expats in Abu Dhabi must complete their applications by this weekend, 01 April, while those in Dubai have until 01 June.
‘It will be easier for expats living and working here as they will not have to carry so many cards,’ said an official, adding that the cards will be valid for two years and are required for all foreigners resident in UAE aged over 15.
The new card will be valid for two years for private sector expat workers and their family members and the Emirates Identity Authority (EIDA) plans to use it to replace other forms of identification, such as health cards and driving licences in the future.
There will be stiff fines for those found not to have a card or who don’t renew their cards within 30 days. Daily fines of up to AED20 are being considered, up to a limit of AED1,000.
Other organisations are also indicating that they will only accept the new ID cards for registration. For example, the Roads and Transport Authority says it will no longer issue travel passes to people without ID cards.
‘It is an absolute must to present a valid national ID card in applying for a Monthly Pass. This is RTA policy,’ said Mohammad Yousuf Al Mudharreb, Director of the RTA Unified Automated Fare Collection Department.
Several major medical centres across the Emirates, responsible for the mandatory medical testing involved in visa issuance and renewal, also said that the ID cards will be mandatory.
The Emirates Identity Authority (EIDA) has said that by the end of 2013, ID cards will be fully linked with all aspects of the expat residence visa process.
Individuals are now obligated to notify the EIDA of all changes in personal data such as new passport, change of employer, etc, within 30 days of the change occurring.